A cockroach that spent 12 days in space is now the grandmother of 30 grandchildren on Earth. They seem to be as healthy as other cockroaches.
Russian space scientists wanted to test the survival skills and endurance of animals, so they used a cockroach named Nadezhda (Hope) along with other animal species. Nadezhda spent 12 days in orbit and survived.
Nadezhda conceived 30 healthy descendants last September in an orbiting laboratory named Foton-M. The children were normal like other cockroaches except they had a faster maturation rate in space compared to normal conditions, according to Dmitry Atyakshin, a scientist at Voronezh Medical Academy, Russia.
The cockroaches were later brought back to Earth and now Nadezhda has 30 grandchildren, who are growing and behaving just like other household cockroaches. The conditions of Space didn't seem to have affected their growth.
Atyakshin told Agence France-Presse:
These are descendants of those cockroaches who were conceived in space and were born after returning to Earth ... In all particulars they accord with standards on Earth.
In the future, mankind has to spend a long time in space, so studies like this will be very useful. The scientists proudly call Nadezhda, a pioneer. The first to orbit the Earth was a dog named Laika, which paved the way for the astronauts to go to the Moon.